Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jim Henley is really shrill today:

:[T]the US and its Iraqi allies chose to try Saddam on one of his relatively minor crimes because if they did so they could get him safely hung before they had to try him for the major ones, the gas attacks and massacres that happened during The Years of Playing Footsie with the United States. The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddam's own trial, by two orders of magnitude. They were also the sort of war crime that people like Ralph Peters and a hundred other pundits and parapundits think the United States should be committing. Every time you read a complaint about "politically correct rules of engagement" you are reading someone who would applaud a Dujail-level slaughter if only we were to perpetrate it. Those are the people who are happiest of all about tonight's execution. Smells like - victory! It's the pomander they don against the stench.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald Ford was too smart not to be shrill. Good to know he still had all his wits about him:

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: December 24, 2006 - December 30, 2006 Archives: Woodward's latest in WaPo...

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush had launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

In a conversation that veered between the current realities of a war in the Middle East and the old complexities of the war in Vietnam whose bitter end he presided over as president, Ford took issue with the notion of the United States entering a conflict in service of the idea of spreading democracy.

The interview was embargoed until after Ford's death.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Greg Sargent is really shrill. It/s Kathleen Hall Jamieson's fault:

The Horse's Mouth: Sit down, everyone. I think I've found what is far and away the most perfect example of "no-matter-how-bad-it-gets-it's-helpful-to-Bush" punditry ever produced anywhere. It comes courtesy of Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Jamieson appears to believe that the fact that the Iraq quagmire has gotten so bad offers hidden political benefits to the President in that it will make Americans more receptive to Bush's imminent solutions to it:

Even with that seemingly no-win set of expectations, the president does have room to succeed, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania...

What people want is to hear Bush explain a clear route to an honorable outcome -- one in which it is clear that the war left Iraq and the U.S. better off, Jamieson said.

"There are times when a country roots for a leader. I think that's what happening with this," Jamieson said. "A lot of people who voted for Democrats want the president to succeed. I think he has some advantage coming in, because the public so desperately wants success."

Bush has an advantage "coming in"? Do we really believe that the American public is so dumb that it's forgotten that Bush created this problem? This one really does capture punditry at its worst: It's completely, even laughably divorced from reality, and contains no discernible desire to root opinion in anything resembling empirical evidence.

It's Joe Lieberman's fault:

Eschaton: Getting So Much Better All the Time: Except it's getting worse. Never fear, though, the very serious Joe Lieberman (CFL-CT) said this in July:

BRIDGEPORT %u2014 U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman believes the U.S. will withdraw a "solid' contingent of its military forces in Iraq by the end of the year because of gains made by the Iraqi armed forces. "There really has been progress made by the Iraqi military," Lieberman said Tuesday during a meeting with the Connecticut Post's editorial board. "Two-thirds of it could stand on its own or lead the fight with our logistical support." The three-term U.S. senator said he believes a complete withdrawal is possible by late 2007 or early 2008...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Duncan Black is shrill:

Eschaton: As we've seen with both neoconservative hawks and liberal hawks, they're never wrong and the mess they've created will always justify the continued mess. Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon has informed us that "2007 will be make or break time in Iraq." Actually, that's not true, as tends to happen with this issue he informed us that it will "very likely" be "make or break time." A year from now we'll find out that no, 2008 is Pony Time. And O'Hanlon also tells us that if 2007 leans towards break instead of make, there are some wonderful New Ideas to try like, say, "a plan to help people to where they feel safer within the country." Which, once you run that through the Quiet American decoder ring, actually means "forced ethnic partition and mass relocation." Because once we do that there will surely be nothing to fight about anymore. Whatever. And this is the Left Flank of acceptable elite discourse on the subject, almost 4 years after the dirty f------ hippies were proved f------ right.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Leon Panetta Causes a Shrillness Meltdown

It's Atrios. Condition shrillitical. Pray to the FSM that he makes even a partial recovery:

Eschaton: LISTEN TO ATRIOS, DAMNIT: I'm not one to hit the caps lock or refer to myself in the third person, but this just about caused a meltdown:

WASHINGTON -- Iraq Study Group member Leon E. Panetta believed that his panel's unanimous bipartisan recommendations about a new way forward in Iraq would give President Bush the political cover needed for a dramatic policy shift. So the former chief of staff to President Clinton has watched with alarm as Bush this week signaled that he may reject suggestions about diplomacy and withdrawing most US troops from Iraq by 2008.

Bush has even criticized the idea that the group was providing a "graceful exit" from the war -- which is what Panetta and other panel members figured Bush most wanted.

How is that little old me, one of the blogosphere's most disreputable rabid lambs, understands what's going a hell of a lot better than The Wise Old Men of Washington? Really, I'm just aghast at this. Bush has made it quite clear for months and years that leaving is losing. My brilliant insight isn't based on my ability to look deep into his soul, it is based on my ability to hear what he has said over and over again.

It's possible the ISG could've provided cover for Bush to shift from "stay the course!" to something slightly different, but only if that slightly different thing didn't involve, you know, leaving. Bush has made that perfectly clear repeatedly. Leaving is losing. Staying is winning. It's that simple.

...adding, the main issue is that there was no way the ISG was going to achieve desired change simply by "providing cover." To the extent that they could they had to try to force his hand. If they'd had the 6 weeks+ of media hype with Broderella and the gang falling all over themselves to praise their brilliance, and then they'd laid the nuclear "get the f--- out NOW you goddamn moron!" smackdown (in slightly more diplomatic language) on Bush, then maybe, just maybe, they'd have caused a big enough earthquake to force a sensible change.

I don't think a "get the f--- out NOW you goddamn moron!" smackdown would have had any effect. It would have had to be an "impeach this mofo NOW!" smackdown. That might have made a difference.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Frontiers of Shrillness

Holden doesn't have to write anything to be shrill. All he has to do is quote George W. Bush:

First Draft - Your President Speaks!:

Excuses, Excuses

I put off my speech -- actually, I was quite flexible about when I was going to give my speech, to begin with -- and one of the main reasons why is I really do want the new Secretary of Defense to have time to get to know people and hear people and be a part of this deliberation. And he will not be sworn in until next Monday. I also -- one of the interesting things about this experience is that there's a lot of ideas and a lot of opinions. And I want to make sure I hear from as many of those ideas and opinions as possible.

People Got To Understand

But one thing people got to understand is we'll be headed toward achieving our objectives.

"Energy" = Oil -- What It's All About

Moderate people -- moderate governments in the Middle East would be making irrational decisions about their future. It would be a disaster for governments that have got energy resources to be in the hands of these extremists. They would use energy to extract blackmail from the United States. And when you couple all that with a regime that is -- doesn't like the United States having a nuclear weapon, you can imagine a world of turmoil.

Wrong Ira_

It's in Saudi's interest, it's in Jordan's interest, it's in the Gulf Coast countries' interest that there be a stable Iran, an Iran that is capable of rejecting Iranian influence -- I mean, Iraq that is capable of rejecting Iranian influence.

I Have A Theory That Is Mine

And as I deliberate the way forward, I keep in mind that we've got brave souls that need -- to need to know that we're in this fight with a strategy to help them achieve the objectives that we've got.

Still No Sign Of Reality

Q As you give the new Defense Secretary time to get more in the mix, what is the strategy that you're looking to build? Is it a military strategy for success in Iraq, or a political one?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that our military cannot do this job alone. Our military needs a political strategy that is effective. And that includes things such an oil law passed by the Iraqis that basically says to the people, all of you, regardless of where you live or your religion, get to share in the bounty of our nation. It requires a reconciliation effort, including a rational de-Baathification law.

Q That's not something you can do with your new strategy, is it?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, I can do that with my strategy. I mean, it is -- I can hold people to account. It's something the military recognizes that they're not -- that's not their job, it's my job to convince the Maliki government to make the hard decisions necessary to move his country forward.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Atrios Is Not Shrill Enough!

Atrios writes:

Eschaton: Stay the Course: The ISG had one chance (not a big chance, I admit, but a chance) to force a policy change. That was to clearly, and in no uncertain terms, advocate the policy that a strong majority of Americans want - a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. They failed to do that, and now they're going to wonder why The Decider is filing their recommendations in the circular filing cabinet:

Former White House advisers to George H.W. Bush are keenly disappointed and concerned about the current President Bush's initial reaction to the report by the Iraq Study Group. They consider him rather dismissive of the group's conclusions, issued yesterday, which include the view that current Iraq policy is failing. The group recommends a variety of important changes, such as assigning U.S. troops to play more of an advisory and training role and less of a combat role. The ISG also recommends that the United States withdraw most of its combat brigades by early 2008 and that the administration increase diplomatic efforts, including starting talks with Iran and Syria and energetically working toward an Israeli-Palestinian solution.

"We have a classic case of circling the wagons," says a former adviser to Bush the elder. "If President Bush changes his policy in Iraq in a fundamental way, it undermines the whole premise of his presidency. I just don't believe he will ever do that." White House advisers say Bush won't react in detail to the ISG report for several weeks, while he assesses it and awaits various internal government reports on the situation from his own advisers. Bush tells aides he doesn't want to "outsource" his role as commander in chief. Some Bush allies say this is a way to buy some time as the president tries to decide how to deal with rising pressure to alter his strategy in Iraq and hopes the critical media focus on the Iraq war will soften.

Atrios is insufficiently shrill. Baker's one chance to affect the world was not to advocate a timetable for withdrawal. Baker's one chance to affect the world was to advocate the resignation of George W. Bush--that might have created some motion.


Few there are who exceed the Rude Pundit in shrillness:

The Rude Pundit: BlogThis! The Rude Pundit Proudly lowering the level of political discourse 12/12/2006:

The Terri Schiavo President: No, no, it's not f------ possible, not at goddamned all. This is what it's come to? The President of the United States, through his spokesdouche, Tony Snow, is having to proclaim that he gives a s--- what his own generals and advisers have to say:

"[T]raveling to State and traveling to the Pentagon obviously are making the point that the President is listening to key people in this administration." Then, oh, f---, then, the press is actually forced into asking questions like, "[I]s he going to be listening to them?" and "What role is the Vice President playing this week in the listening?" One might think the proper answer to that question is, "The Vice President will be roughly sucking out the viscous goo inside each expert's head through their eye sockets before skull-f------ them because, you know, that's just what he does." But, no, Snow spurted, "Well, he's listening and asking some questions and he's participating in the conversations."

Everyone's just got their big ears on now, at last, nearly four crazed years in.

And now those "key people" are also saying just how golly-gee-whiz open-minded Bush is being about the whole fuckin' thing. Said retired General Wayne Downing, an uberscary guy in his own right, after Bush's Listening Tour (really) took him to visitin' generals, "I found him very engaged. I think he's looking for some answers." Barry McCaffrey added that Bush was listening "intently."

Thing is, we've been here before, where the wishful, the hopeful, the liars, the spinners, the hucksters have all told us that an unmoving blob of flesh is a sentient being. Said one idiot doctor about poor Terri Schiavo, "Although Terri did not demonstrate during our 90-minute visit compelling evidence of verbalization, conscious awareness or volitional behavior, yet the visitor has the distinct sense of the presence of a living human being who seems at some level to be aware of some things around her." And, really, is that protestation of consciousness any different than what McCaffrey said about the President?

Or perhaps this: "Terri Schiavo smiles. She laughs, cries and moans. Her eyes appear to follow a balloon around the room. When a cotton swab slips into her mouth, she grimaces."

See? She wasn't in a persistent vegetative state. She's listening. Like when Bush promises "when I do speak to the American people, they will know that I've listened to all aspects of government."

Terri Schiavo or the President on Iraq? Sure, everyone can say they saw him move, react, follow the balloon, but in the end he's just rotting away with a brainless smile on his face.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Confederacy of Dunces: People Who Are Not Shrill, Only Stupid

Ilya Somin, Silvestre Reyes, and John Derbyshire are not shrill, merely stupid. It's not clear whether John Fowler is stupid or not--he gives no sign that he knows of the existence of the House Rules Committee, but John Derbyshire is an unreliable narrator here.

Ilya Somin joins Silvestre Reyes in the "dunce" category. Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin says that it' not Congressman Silvestre Reyes's fault that he is ignorant of the fact that Al Qaeda is Sunni--it's the fault of all those big-government liberals:

The Volokh Conspiracy - Knowing your Sunnis from your Shiites - Political Ignorance on the House Intelligence Committee:[C]congressional ignorance about the Sunni-Shiite split... is definitely bipartisan.... [M]any Republican members of the Intelligence committee are as much or even more ignorant than Reyes is....

I suspect that the immense size, scope, and complexity of government is part of the problem.... [I]t's hard for the average voter... to keep track of more than a tiny fraction of all the government activity out there. The same seems to be true for the average congressman. It's not hard to understand the basics of the Sunni-Shiite split. However, a congressman who has to spend his time doling out pork to dozens of different constituencies, dealing with massive omnibus spending bills covering every subject under the sun, adding to the equally massive Federal Register of regulations, and overseeing hundreds of different federal agencies, can easily overlook the need to learn basics of Middle East politics.... There is no easy cure for political ignorance in Congress. I suspect that reducing the size and scope of government would help a lot...

But Ilya, Silvestre Reyes sits on three and only three House committees: Intelligence, Armed Services, and Veterans' Affairs. It is not possible for a congressman who sits on those three and only those three committees to "easily" "overlook the need to learn basics of Middle East politics." You have to work very hard indeed to overlook that need. And you have to work very hard indeed to blame Silvestre Reyes's particular and peculiar ignorance on big government.

We can put Ilya, in his grasp of the operations of Congress, in the same boat as John Derbyshire, who until today had never heard of the Rules Committee that enacts a special terms-of-debate, permissible amendments, and cloture rule for every significant bill that comes to the floor of the House of Representatives:

The Corner on National Review Online: Uber-Wonk [John Derbyshire]: If anyone deserves this title, it is surely NR's publisher Jack Fowler. At an editorial meeting this morning we were discussing the House of Representatives. The issue of cloture came up. Jack, briskly: "The House doesn't have a cloture rule." I don't know about you, but I found this sensationally impressive. I mean, how many people—-people not employed on Capitol Hill-—know that? Five?

It is to laugh.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dana Milbank Is Shrill!

Let us turn the microphone over to Dana Milbank, who is shrill:

MILBANK: Oh, I don't think we're giving Don Rumsfeld enough credit for this. This is a classic. This is headed for the hall of fame of cover-your-ass memo writing in Washington, when we've already had a lot of those. Of course there's a discrepancy between what the Secretary of Defense was saying and what the President was saying. But look at what he's done here, is he's listed every conceivable option so that he can now, and for future historians, say whatever the outcome in iraq, "Well I recommended we go in that direction." Because he has recommended increasing troops, decreasing troops, staying the same, adding trainers, just about every possible permutation.

Announcement: Appointment of the Krugman Visiting Professors of Shrillness Studies

Daniel Drezner wakes, and in the dark pre-dawn air the shrillness begins: :: Daniel W. Drezner :: It's a good news Monday.... not: Let's see, what's going on in the world today?

According to Carlotta Gall and Ismail Kahn of the New York Times, it now doesn't matter what happens in Afghanistan -- because Al Qaeda and the Taliban have acquired a permanent and unmolested base in Pakistan's tribal regions anyway...

One of the few things the Bush administration ostensibly prepared for in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom was an expectation of massive refugee flows to neighboring countries. As Bush officials delighted to point out in first years after the invasion, that was one calamity that did not befall Iraq. How times have changed....

Today's front-pager by Michael Kranish explains the dilemma for the Bush administration: Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have fled their homeland are likely to seek refugee status in the United States, humanitarian groups said, putting intense pressure on the Bush administration to reexamine a policy that authorizes only 500 Iraqis to be resettled here next year. The official US policy has been that the refugee situation is temporary and that most of the estimated 1.5 million who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and elsewhere will eventually return to Iraq....

Here's a question for any remaining Bush-supporters -- is there any way you can still claim that this is all just an artifact of liberal media bias?

And I cast my mind back to those halcyon days when Daniel Drezner used to win his bloggy spurs by criticizing Paul Krugman:

Daniel W. Drezner: [S]ince Krugman started his New York Times op-ed column, the ratio of shrillness to insight has been increasing.... For some production processes, as output increases, the quality of each additional unit of output declines. Krugman is writing more now.... On politics, he's not moving down the learning curve. Krugman... [i]s consistently shocked when politicians... take actions that maximize their own power rather than benefiting the greater good.... The logic of Bush's National Security Strategy is to prevent other great powers from rising in order to ensure the long-term growth of freedom, democracy and prosperity.... Krugman, however, seems perpetually befuddled when politicians act politically.

And now, Daniel? I don't see you talking about the "logic of Bush's national security strategy" intended to "ensure the long-term growth of freedom, democracy, and prosperity" any more.

I don't see your calm acquiescence in the crimes of the Bush administration as simply politicians acting politically any more.

Nor do I see you any more celebrating the rise of Fox News as part of a "67% increase in market competiotion for television news" and pointing out "the utility of ideological brands as a useful signal in a market defined by imperfect information."

I am very glad that you have joined all of us who now say that Paul Krugman's big problem in 2000, 2001, and 2002 was that he was not shrill enough--that his columns were only pale watercolors of the true reality of the mendacity, malevolence, incompetence, and disconnection from reality of George W. Bush and hi administration.

Therefore it gives me enormous pleasure--enormous--to inform you that the Council of Ten of the Ancient, Hermetic, and Occult Order of the Shrill has named you and Michael Berube to be the two Paul R. Krugman Visiting Professors of Shrillness Studies here at Miskatonic University for the January IAP period. It is traditional for holders holders of this chair to carve a giant ice sculpture of a menacing cephalopod, or of whatever else their shrill unholy madness drives them to create.

Thomas P.M. Barnett Is Shrill!

He was once such a sane, calm, normal, strategist. But now:

Talking outta both sides of his mouth? (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog): ARTICLE: Bush Appears Cool to Key Points Of Report on Iraq: President Talks of Forming 'New Strategy', By Peter Baker and Robin Wright, Washington Post, December 8, 2006; Page A01. Being lukewarm on ISG while promising change? More proof that there was a profound White House-ISG disconnect. The myth of 41's people taking over seems to have been just that--a good media cover story and little else...

Baker's path could actualize Bush's intent, but... (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog): ARTICLE: Dueling Views Pit Baker Against Rice, By DAVID E. SANGER, New York Times, December 8, 2006: To me, this is generous to Rice, who I don't see as possessing anything close to a worldview. To me, Rice's entire problem as national security adviser and SECSTATE is that she's all process and no content (the essence of realism). Of course, the same charge is constantly leveled at Baker (and with much good cause), but the difference here is that his preferred paths actually constitute the best way forward to actualizing Bush's original intent (remaking the Middle East), they just don't prioritize democratization with the same ideological single-mindedness of a Bush or Cheney (for whom Rice serves as mere tool but not an independent source of either process or content). The real struggle here remains between a serious worldview in Bush-Cheney and a realist's sense of what needs to get done right now to improve our global situation (Baker). The fit is there (as I note), but the willingness is not (on the administration's side)...

But in my view Thomas Barnett is not nearly shrill enough. What I am told is that the problem with Condi Rice is not that she is a neutral arbiter of the foreign-policy process, but that she regards her role as making sure that the foreign-policy process confirms George W. Bush's knee-jerk judgments.

Paul McCleary Is Shrill!

He has been driven shrill by the incompetent and mendacious journamalistic hackery of Glenn Kessler and Michael Abramowitz of the Washington Post--an organization that ought not to last out the next year:

CJR Daily: Neocon Critics of the ISG Report Have a Lot of Explaining To Do: the Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz and Glenn Kessler yesterday took stock of some of the criticisms [of the ISG].... [W]hat struck us about the piece was how it was presented as a sober assessment from the "wise men" of the Right. We are, implicitly, expected to take these guys seriously on the subject of Iraq.... Kenneth R. Weinstein.... Frank J. Gaffney Jr.... Michael Rubin.... William Kristol.... Richard Perle....

When it comes to Iraq these guys were either fantastically wrong or they were bullshitting us all. If the Post is now asking readers to listen to their criticisms of the ISG report... then it has a duty to remind readers of this relevant recent history.

Silly Paul. He doesn't understand that the Post has one "duty" and one duty only: to be nice to its sources that invite it to cocktail parties.

William Arkin Is Driven Mad by Contemplating the Obscenity That Is Ex-General Tommy Franks

He dribbles ichor on the keyboard as he writes:

Wasting Time on Princess Di - Early Warning: don't know which is more embarrassing or more damaging: the Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum planned for Oklahoma, or the news that the NSA eavesdropped in on Princess Diana's communications right before she died.

I couldn't care less about Diana, but the news, if true, struck me as important for once again punctuating how much U.S. intelligence is driven by an appetite for gossip and dirt.

That retired Army General Franks is busy raising funds for an institute that will bear his name is more directly obscene, but not surprising: I guess at least one person planned well for the post-war Iraq era.

Thomas P.M. Barnett Is Shrill!

Any shriller and we would all be in danger from his sharp, parrot-like beak and the powerful suckers on his tentacles"

Running the Balkans backwards (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog): Problem is, Bush can't decide to fix Sunni and accept Shiia revival regionally. He wants to have his cake and barf it too.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Paul Krugman: Shrillest of the Shrillest of the Shrillest of the Shrill

Mark Thoma reads Paul Krugman, the shrillest of the shrillest of the shrillest of those who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by the disconnection from reality, incompetence, mendacity, and malevolence of George W. Bush and his administration:

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: They Told You So: Paul Krugman reviews "The Cassandra Chronicles":

...Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, "The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers." Among those the article mocked was a "war novelist" named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia. The article's title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra's curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true. And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, they were ignored....

I'd like to offer some praise to those who got it right. Here's a partial honor roll:

Former President George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft.... "Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."...

Al Gore.... "I am deeply concerned that the course of action ... with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century."

Barack Obama.... "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."

Representative John Spratt.... "The outcome after the conflict is actually going to be the hardest part, and it is far less certain."

Representative Nancy Pelosi.... "When we go in, the occupation, which is now being called the liberation, could be interminable and the amount of money it costs could be unlimited."

Senator Russ Feingold.... "I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion... When the administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the administration's motives."

Howard Dean.... "I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time.... Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms."

We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who... acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly... should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.

He reminds us of why, today, nearly everybody even semi-sentient joins in the chant: "

Juan Williams Is Shrill!

After six years of eating his daily dose of crap as he enables the mendacious, malevolent, incompetent, and disconnected-from-reality fans of the Bushies, Juan Williams has had enough and is finally shrill:

Juan Williams Hits His Limit on Fox News Sunday: Juan Williams reached his limit. This morning, Williams said, "Sometimes I just want to scream. You guys have been going on since this thing began." Williams noted that Hume and Kristol "don't give credit to people... who said from the start this is a mistake." Instead, "now it's everybody's a surrender monkey or impatient or squeamish or weak.."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Let It Never Be Said That the Order of the Shrill Is Not a Catholic Organization

Ezra Klein is driven into shrill unholy madness--by the Bush administration? No. By the cowardly indolent mendacious press corps? No. Who then drives him into shrill unholy madness? The incompetence and disconnection from reality of Silvestre Reyes, Nancy Pelosi's choice to be chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

My God! The stupidity! It burns!:

Ezra Klein: Confederacy of Dunces: Looks like incoming House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes is the latest in a long line of Congressional national security experts who don't actually know anything about national security. He thinks the viciously anti-Shiite al-Qaeda are... Shiites, something that even casual observers of the Iraq War know to be false, given that al-Qaeda is gaining ground in Iraq as protectors of the Sunnis. He thinks Hezbollah is, well, he doesn't quite know, which probably also means he doesn't know their sponsors in Iran are Shiite, and thus invested in Shiite dominance in Iraq. Oy....

These issues are important. And Silvestre Reyes is paid to understand them.... I've read at least a couple books on the Middle East.... You can't get through the intro of these books without being treated to an extended disquisition on the differences between Sunnis and Shiites, who falls where, and how their ancient enmity set the stage for all that has come since. What Reyes' ignorance means isn't that he's got a poor memory for categories: It's that he's not made even basic efforts to educate himself on the relevant concepts.

So what the hell are we paying these people for? And given that Jeff Stein made headlines a few months back with a New York Times op-ed embarrassing an array of Congressmen by detailing their ignorance of these very facts, how detached must Reyes be not to have boned up on those very facts?

I do think it is time for Silvestre Reyes to announce that he is not competent to chair the House Intelligence Committee.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Peggy Noonan Is Shrill!

Or is she? She whispers and implies, but doesn't say what she means: that George H.W. Bush is having a nervous breakdown because he keeps thinking that he gave his rolodex to the wrong son in 1999.

If that's what you think is going on, then say it, Peggy!

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan: A Father's Tears

George H.W. Bush cried at a tribute to his son Jeb. What else was he feeling?: [S]suddenly he was sobbing. He had referred to his son Jeb's first campaign for governor. He had seen some "unfair stuff," but Jeb "didn't whine about it, he didn't complain." The old president began to weep. "The true measure of a man," he then said, "is how you handle victory, and also defeat."... [N]o one who knows George H.W. Bush thinks that moment was only about Jeb. It wasn't only about some small defeat a dozen years ago. It would more likely have been about a number of things, and another son, and more than him....

Barely more than a day after he spoke, the Iraq Study Group's report would be issued. It was chaired by his old friend, the one with whom he'd discussed serious things years ago only after the kids, George and Jeb and the others, left the room. Surely Mr. Bush knew--surely he was first on James Baker's call list--that the report would not, could not, offer a way out of a national calamity, but only suggestions, hopes, on ways through it. To know his son George had (with the best of intentions!) been wrong in the great decision of his presidency--stop at Afghanistan or move on to Iraq?--and was now suffering a defeat made clear by the report; to love that son, and love your country, to hold these thoughts, to have them collide and come together--this would bring not only tears, but more than tears.

And the younger President Bush, what of his inner world? He has been shorn of much--his place in the winner's circle, old advisers.... Unlike anguished wartime presidents of old, he seems resolutely un-anguished. Think of the shattered Lincoln of the last Mathew Brady photographs... anguished Lyndon B. Johnson... with his head in his hands. History takes a toll.

But George W. Bush seems, in the day to day, the same as he was... a confidence born of cluelessness?... I'd ask someone in the White House, but they're still stuck in Rote Talking Point Land.... If he suffers, they might tell us; it would make him seem more normal.... [M]aybe there is no suffering. Maybe he outsources suffering. Maybe he leaves it to his father.

Senator Gordon Smith, R-OR, Is Shrill!

Welcome, Senator Smith!


The times, they...: The times, they are a-changin'. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), in a speech on the Iraq War last night: "I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Michael Berube Leads Us in the Dance of Shrillness

Lord of the Happy Feet Michael Berube is shrill... all nine of him:

: Happy Feet gets two stars out of a possible four, and no knuckles. But that's not what I'm blogging about today.

I'm blogging about the fact that the right-wing pundits and bloggers who complained about the film are completely and fully batshit insane, including this Medved guy, who also manages to be kind of, ah, stupid insofar as he gets a lot of plot details wrong. (And when you're a professional film critic, you know, that's usually considered bad.) Now, I don't want to be misunderstood here. The film is a liberal film. It was rushed into production by Hollywood expressly to counteract the evil effects of the smash conservative penguin hit of 2005, March of the Resolutely Heterosexual Penguins. Happy Feet, by contrast, suggests that children with weird species abnormalities might turn out to have some value even though their peers ostracize them; it suggests that ignorant tribal elders who attribute supernatural causes to natural phenomena are best ignored; and it strongly suggests that humans are interfering with penguins' fish supply. Though I note that the humans who actually arrive in Antarctica are kind of nice, smiling and joining in the dancing and even falling down.

Interestingly, Medved comes to a queer conclusion about that species abnormality:

As in so many other recent films, there's a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity. Mumbles (the voice of Elijah Wood) displeases his parents and the leaders of his community because he's born different, and makes an impassioned plea that he can't possibly change--and they should accept him as he is.

Remember, kids: different = teh gay! OK, it's not as if Medved is obsessed or anything, but for the record, Mumbles's dancing (and inability to sing) is quite clearly a disability. But for you, Mr. Medved, gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay. There. Happy now?

Anyway, the right-wing punditocracy, being completely batshit insane and all, misses the whole point. The movie is not about pollution and global warming and bad humans. The movie is about the insidious correlation between immigrants and polyrhythms, a subject about which I once delivered a learned and distinguished lecture back when I was the Visiting and Distinguished Lecturer at General J. C. Christian Academy. You see, when Mumbles is driven from his own kind, he finds five penguins of a different species--smaller, more fun-loving, with Latin accents--who become his companions for a good deal of the film, even accompanying him on his perilous voyage to open contact with the humans. The film thereby suggests that small, fun-loving, Latin-accented penguins are good penguins. And if you're a right-wing pundit concerned (and who among you isn't?) about Hollywood's endorsement of the Mexidisabilitofascist agenda, then that's what you should be complaining about: the preponderance of small, fun-loving, Latin-accented animals in America's animated films. It started with Tito (Cheech Marin) in Oliver's Company. It has reached the level of Mexidisabilitofascist propaganda in Happy Feet. It can only end with you, Michael Medved.

Oh, one more thing. In the course of his "review," Mr. Medved also complains about the brief snippet toward the end in which Mumbles is discovered on a beach and brought to an aquarium. Waking up and finding himself in the penguin exhibit, Mumbles does not understand that the humans do not understand his cries for help, and after a few months, he begins to hallucinate, thinking that his family and girlfriend are with him. Here's Medved's characterization of this sequence:

There's also scenes of a penguin captured for a zoo and tormented to the point of mental incapacity by unfeeling people.

Hmmmm, that's not what happens in Happy Feet at all. The people are not unfeeling, and Mumbles is not tormented by them; they're just families going to the aquarium. Indeed, the one little girl who taps on the glass turns out to be the person who snaps Mumbles out of it, by inducing him to tap dance. So what could Medved possibly be thinking about?

Oh, yes. Things like this.

Now lawyers for Mr. Padilla, 36, suggest that he is unfit to stand trial. They argue that he has been so damaged by his interrogations and prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to assist in his own defense. His interrogations, they say, included hooding, stress positions, assaults, threats of imminent execution and the administration of "truth serums."

The people running this country are completely and fully batshit insane. Scarily, world-threateningly batshit insane. And you know what else? Other people are catching on, too.

Brad DeLong Is Shrill

The Stupidest Men Alive contest is over, with one and only one winner. Others just cannot compete--no way, no how.

There is one and only one man ideally situated to be a counselor to America's president. One and only one man who (a) has been president, (b) is still sharp as a tack, (c) wishes George W. Bush well, and (d) knows what it is like to sit in the Oval Office.

Does George W. Bush ask for his advice and counsel? No.

Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!! Stupid. Stupid. STUPID. STUPID!! STUPID!!!!!

Every Republican who has not told this clown that he should resign should be profoundly ashamed of him or herself. Every Republican. Every non-Republican too:

Dan Froomkin - Bush Denies Reaching Out to Dad - Even as Washington's punditocracy relishes the storyline of the elder-statesman father riding to the hapless son's rescue, President Bush insisted yesterday that he doesn't talk shop with his dad -- and certainly doesn't ask for his advice.... Here's the transcript and the video.... [W]hen Hume brought up the issue of his father's influence, Bush responded with a forced grin, a clenched fist and a somewhat petulant response: "I'm the commander in chief," he said. And Bush's explanation for why he doesn't talk policy with his dad simply doesn't hold water. "You know, I love my dad," Bush said. "But he understands what I know, that the level of information I have relative to the level of information most other people have, including himself, is significant."

Oh, please. That's obviously not the real reason.

So here are two more-likely possibilities: Either Bush does talk to his dad and doesn't want people to know; or he truly has no interest in what his dad thinks.

The latter still strikes me as the most likely. Bush, after all, remains the son whose actions can be seen in large part as a reaction to his father -- rather than an homage. As Bush biographer Bill Sammon wrote in 2004: "President Bush is resolved not to repeat what he thinks were the two fundamental blunders of his father's one-term presidency: abandoning Iraq and failing to vanquish the Democrats. "In one of several exclusive interviews with the Washington Times, Mr. Bush said his father had 'cut and run early' from Iraq in 1991." But now, with the younger Bush looking so reckless by comparison, the elder Bush -- according to Bob Woodward-- is "in agony, anguished, tormented by the war in Iraq and its aftermath."

The last time Bush spoke publicly about his father was just before the election. As Reuters reported, Bush "gently admonished his father for saying he hates to think what life will be like for his son if the Democrats win control of Congress in the Nov. 7 election. "'He shouldn't be speculating like this, because -- he should have called me ahead of time and I'd tell him they're not going to [win],' a smiling Bush said during an interview broadcast yesterday on the ABC program 'This Week.'" Of course, the elder Bush was right about that one, too....

Here is the relevant excerpt from the Fox News interview, with a few stage directions:

Hume: "The presence of Baker on this commission and the important role he plays, the emergence now of Bob Gates as the Rumsfeld successor, has given rise to a widespread feeling that the men who advised your father are now emerging as critical to you and that your father's influence is all over this."

Bush: "Yeah." [Bush grins, but his raised left fist is clenched tightly.]

Hume: "What do you say to that?"

Bush: "I say that [pause, exasperated shrug] you know, I'm the commander in chief. I make decisions based upon what I think is best to achieve our objectives, and that, uh --" [shakes his head]

Hume: "Was your father involved in the decision to name Gates?"

Bush: [Eyebrows shoot up defensively] "I asked him what kind of man Gates was with him, because of course he knows him."

Hume: "Did he know ahead of time? Ahead of the day? That you were gonna --"

Bush: "No."

Hume: "He didn't."

Bush: "No."

Hume: "A lot of people have been curious -- and I've asked you about this before and the answer fascinates me, so I'll ask it again. The universal expectation would be, your father's a former president, you and your brothers and your sister Doro all adore your father, everybody knows that, one would imagine you would consult him constantly about matters of policy. Is that the case?

Bush: "No. You know, I love my dad. But he understands what I know -- that the level of information I have relative to the level of information most other people have, including himself, is significant and that he trusts me to make decisions.

"I love to talk to my Dad about things between a father and a son, not policy. I get plenty of policy time. I'm interested in talking to a guy I love. And I get inspiration from him as a father, you know.

"Washington can be a tough town at times, and there's nothing better than hearing a loving voice at the end of the phone call occasionally, and so I check in with mother and dad, you know, I would say once every two weeks. I love surprising them with an early morning phone call and saying, you know, how ya doing?

"And of course, they're worried about their son. They're worried about -- they're paying too much attention to the newspapers, I guess."

Bush's "I'm the commander in chief" response is a little reminiscent of his "I'm the decider" riff from back in April.

Both sound a bit defensive. And it's worth noting that the latter comment came about in the midst of what turned out to be a hollow assurance.

"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation," Bush said at the time. "But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."

The other memorable exchange in the interview came when Bush talked about his state of mind. He is apparently neither pained nor burdened by the war in Iraq -- or anything else, for that matter -- thanks to all the people praying for him.

Hume: "I've just spent some time in the company of people who were for you, who are worried about you, just as you described your parents are. They think that your presidency has run aground on the shoals of Iraq and that you must be -- they feel almost sorry for you. What do you say to those people?"

Bush: "Yeah, I don't think people are -- at least the ones I run into -- look, I had a bunch of our buddies from Texas up here this weekend, and they're kind of -- they look at you, and go, man, how come you're still standing? It's not so much the presidency on the shoals because of difficult decisions I made; it's more, the weightiness of this thing must be impossible for anybody to bear. And I tell them it's just not the case, that I'm inspired by doing this job. . . .

"I also remind them, Brit, that Laura and I are sustained by the prayers of millions of people. That's hard for some to, you know, I guess, chew on."

Hume: "You sense that."

Bush: "Absolutely."

Hume: "I know they tell you that, when you see them out on the hustings. But do you sense that?"

Bush: "I feel it."

Hume: "You feel it."

Bush: "Yeah. Because the load is not heavy, I guess is the best way to describe it. Look, somebody said to me, prove it. I said you can't prove it. All I can tell you is I feel it. And it's a remarkable country when millions pray for me and Laura. So therefore I'm able to say to people, that this is a joyful experience, not a painful experience. And yeah it's tough, but that's okay. It's tough times."

Hume's One Tough Question

Hume: "You have said on a number of occasions that your view of the shape and mission of U.S. forces day by day in Iraq, week by week, is based on what General Abizaid and, more specifically, General Casey say, that this has been kind of a Casey and Abizaid approach. Is that a fair assessment?"

Bush: "I have said that the force size will depend upon conditions on the ground and upon the recommendations of our commanders on the ground, absolutely."

Hume: "Is it fair to say, then, that the approach in Iraq has been more a reflection of what Casey and Abizaid wanted than of anybody else over there? Or anybody else in the military?"

Bush: "I think from the military tactics that they are the chain of command through Rumsfeld to me."

Hume: "Right."

Bush: "Now they listen to all kinds of people on the ground and they are very thoughtful, decent, honorable men, who understand that -- what the mission is and understand that it is their obligation to design the tactics to achieve the mission."

Hume: "It is -- it does the raise the question though, Mr. President, if they're the guys who've been designing and trying to execute the mission and you're impatient with the progress, why is it that Rumsfeld's going and they're staying?"

Bush: "Well, they also are impatient with the progress, just like Secretary Rumsfeld is. And he came to the same conclusion that I came to, that it was time to get fresh eyes in the Pentagon on the issue. And I strongly support his past tenure and I appreciate his service to the country."

That answer, of course, is completely nonresponsive.

This Would Have Been a "Stupidest Men Alive" Contest Nomination

The shrill John Holbo nominates Michael Novak. Sorry John, sorry Michael. Michael just cannot compete with the stupidity of his clown-show master, George W. Bush:

Green Lantern Watch, Part XXIV: Josh Marshall links to a Michael Novak piece in the Standard -- a piece that is surely the apotheosis of Green Lantern foreign policy (well, until next week); complete with vulnerability to the hideous yellow streak that is the MSM.

It begins... horribly:

Today, the purpose of war is sharply political, not military; psychological, not physical. The main purpose of war is to dominate the way the enemy imagines and thinks about the war.

Read those two sentence again.

Other bits (in which our author is pretending to speak in the voice of an Islamist terrorist/insurgent, but I think he's just being bashful):

The weaker political will yielded to the stronger will...

Yet, as always, will followed storyline. First comes narrative, then the acts that give it flesh in history...

In such wars... whichever party maintains the stronger will, along the most durable storyline, always wins...

I really don't know what to say. War is a continuation of punditry by other means? Have I got that right? I's looking increasingly like sheer intellectual inconsistency on the part of the neocons and warbloggers that they have not marched on -- and levitated by force of will -- the New York Times building. What's stopping them?

For background reading... you can get all of season 1 ofRobot Chicken for an astonishing $8.99.

William Arkin Fhtagn!!

Respected elder William Arkin leads us in Evensong:

The Wrong Road on Iraq - Early Warning: Regardless of what happens now, our failed enterprise in Iraq is leaves some dangerous impressions behind about America, our strengths and what we stand for.

Despite having the greatest military in the world, we are now shown to be fallible and vulnerable.

Despite our vaunted democracy, people take away the lesson that the strong man rules, manipulating and conspiring for profit and power.

Despite utterances about human rights, America is branded as the land of state-sanctioned torture and rape.

We believe in religious freedom, but we are against Islam.

And, of course, we can never admit that we are wrong.

I don't say all of this merely to pile on the Bush administration or to blame America: we are where we are.

It just strikes me though that those who argue that we can not withdraw from Iraq because of the chaos that will ensue ignore the conditions that already have been created that will influence those who decide to war against us in the future.

Michael Gordon's scoop today in the New York Times should remind us though that those who want to redouble our efforts flirt with even greater disaster: They are suggesting measures on behalf of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people that will ultimately bring even worse consequences for the United States.

As President Bush meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki today in Jordan, a classified memorandum written by National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley suggests a set of steps America could take to strengthen the Baghdad government and pull a win out of the bag at the eleventh hour.

The five-page Nov. 8 document, classified secret, is based in part, the New York Times says, on a one-on-one meeting between Hadley and Maliki on Oct. 30.

In some ways, as Gordon reports, the memo is a shrewd assessment of the Iraqi leader. "Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or ... his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action," Hadley writes.

The administration describes the memo as a "trip report" and downplays it's centrality as U.S. policy or change in course.

But buried in the "bullet points" about U.S. options in the future are a set of suggestions that reveal pursuit of strategies that could just make matters worse and create even greater danger for America. Here are some examples of the language:

"address bilateral issues with the United States through a SOFA [status of forces agreement] to be negotiated over the next year"

"suspension of de-Baathification measures"

"pressure Iran and Syria to end their interference in Iraq, in part by hitting back at Iranian proxies in Iraq"

"lean on Syria to terminate its support for Baathists and insurgent leaders"
"Step up our efforts to get Saudi Arabia to take a leadership role in supporting Iraq by using its influence to move Sunni populations in Iraq out of violence into politics"

"Consider monetary support to moderate groups"

As I read it: a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq, pay-offs Contra-style to build a moderate base, abandonment of any pretense even of noble and democratic goals, reliance on the very two-faced and unreliable foreign partners -- Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia -- who have absolutely no interest in reform or moderation.

Besides the fact of sucking us into a time consuming process of Baghdad and these foreign actors promising effort and asking for more time, thus prolonging the pain and putting off the inevitable, what the street will conclude with this strategic vision is that it is, after all, all about money for America.

Not getting out now and pursuing these measures will communicate that America will buy the actors off if we can, that America is ultimately more interested in access to oil and the status quo than reform, that America will maintain a permanent presence -- our intent all along -- because we need to control the future.

Are we willing to try anything to save Iraq; even if it means making our situation in the world worse in the future?

I hope not. But these are the brilliant minds at work.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Andrew Sullivan is Back, in The Order's New Favorite Joke!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan who?
Andrew Sullivan fhtagn!

Look at these pictures. Three ridiculously well-armed soldiers to guard and escort a defenseless inmate with no shoes, driven to mental illness, who has a record of perfect compliance with his jailors and who has seen all the main charges against him dropped. An American citizen detained without charge for almost four years - in solitary confinement and darkness and forced to wear goggles and sound-erasing ear-plugs in public. More video photos here.

One man is responsible for this. And he is president of the United States. I am told I am hysterical to be angry about this. But my anger gets deeper the more we know. I simply do not understand why the anger and sense of disgrace is not more widely felt.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Amanda Marcotte Is Shrill and Unhappy

She has reason to be shrill and unhappy at Daniel Glover, Mike Essl, and the New York Times:

This is the disclaimer the NY Times failed to run at Pandagon: Oh good lord--this is just sleazy. Daniel Glover and Mike Essl are hinting around that a lot of bloggers have undisclosed conflicts of interest and forget to include an extremely important disclaimer about some of the bloggers on their handy little chart here. You know, the part where they clearly state that bloggers like Peter Daou and our own Jesse Taylor have no conflict of interest at all. Because they quit their blogs before starting their campaign jobs so there was no conflict of interest.

Jesse transferred this blog's ownership to me when he got hired by Ted Strickland's campaign. I own it outright to the degree that I even rent the server space from my boyfriend. The domain, the ad revenue, everything is in my name and I control it. He doesn't write here. His only tie to this blog left after he started the job with Strickland is that he's my friend. I do believe that friendship between campaign staffers and media is still allowable....

Far be it for me to say, but I think that it's really rich of any Big Media organizations to hand-wring over ties between bloggers and candidates, particularly the NY Times, who provided column space for a journalist who didn't "disclose" the fact that she was a propaganda machine for BushCo's illegal war-mongering.

I think I might just have to send off a letter to their editors.

Update: Sent the letter. Here it is:

To the Editor:

The article "New on the Web: Politics As Usual" on December 3rd by Daniel Glover and Mike Essl featured a chart with a list of bloggers who had ties to various campaigns. On that list, you included my old co-blogger Jesse Taylor, and implied that Jesse was working for Ted Strickland while advocating for him on an independent blog. This implication is utterly false. Jesse Taylor terminated his relationship with Pandagon when he was hired by the Strickland campaign. I know this, because I took over full ownership of the blog and have run it independently ever since.

Is the big media really so threatened by ordinary citizens bloviating about our political opinions on websites we run in our spare time that you have to resort to misrepresentation?

Shrill Department of "Huh?" (Joe Biden's "White Christmas" Moment)

I guess Joe Biden isn't running for president after all. At least, he has driven Tim Lambert into shrillness. Lambert at Joe Biden's Trent Lott moment | CorrenteWire | Dem on Dem Violence | Department of What is WRONG with These People? directs us to:

The State | 12/03/2006 | Biden charms local GOP: By LEE BANDY: It was unlike most Columbia Rotary Club luncheons. The speaker was U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, a likely candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The chief topic: the Iraq war. The audience: predominantly Republican.... The senator then pounced on a member's announcement that the club would hold its annual Christmas party at the state Department of Archives and History where members could view the original copy of the state's Articles of Secession. Biden asked, "Where else could I go to a Rotary Club where (for a) Christmas party the highlight is looking at the Articles?" Biden was on a roll. Delaware, he noted, was a "slave state that fought beside the North. That's only because we couldn't figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way." The crowd loved it.

From Wikipedia, on slavery in Delaware:

Delaware - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Slavery and Race: ...At the end of the colonial period, slavery in Delaware began a precipitous decline. Shifts in the agriculture economy, the efforts of local Methodists and Quakers, and greater governmental regulation were all factors. Attempts to abolish slavery failed by narrow margins. By the 1860 census there were only about 1,800 slaves in a state of 90,000 people, including nearly 20,000 free African Americans. When he freed his slaves in 1777, John Dickinson was Delaware's largest slave owner with 37 slaves. By 1860 the largest owner had 16 slaves.

The oldest black church in the country was chartered in Delaware by former slave Peter Spencer in 1813 as the "Union Church of Africans," which is now the A.U.M.P. Church. The Big August Quarterly began in 1814 and is the oldest such cultural festival in the country.

During the American Civil War, Delaware was a slave state that remained in the Union (Delaware voted not to secede on January 3, 1861). Delaware had been the first state to embrace the Union by ratifying the constitution and would be the last to leave it, according to Delaware's governor at the time. While most Delaware citizens who fought in the war served in the regiments of the state, some served in companies on the Confederate side in Maryland and Virginia Regiments. Delaware is notable for being the only slave state not to assemble Confederate regiments or militia groups on its own...

And Tim Lambert adds:

Oh, and just in case anybody forgets what the Civil War was all about, here's what South Carolina's Articles of Secession have to say about slavery:

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction...

Yep, that's why the the Civil War was fought, alright. Over slavery. "White Christmas," indeed.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

We Get Letters Nominating Nina Burleigh to Our Order

CapitalistImperialistPig writes to us:

CapitalistImperialistPig: Shrill Nomination: I would like to nominate Nina Burleigh for membership in the Order of the Shrill - those driven to shrill, unholy madness by the manifold evils of BushCo:

Here in the United States, the blithe and oblivious masterminds of Iraq's total ruination - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith - remain members of the ruling elite. They go about their business chastened perhaps - or not - by the recent election, but apparently in no danger of being called to account for the 150,000 (or 600,000-plus) Iraqis who have died as a result of their Frankensteinian experiment in nation-building.

We now know with certainty, thanks to the reportage of Risen, Ricks and Woodward, among others, that our worst imaginings of the incompetence and utter inhumanity of our leaders never approximated what was really going on in the White House and the Pentagon....Democrats in Congress, thinking about 2008 and suspecting, probably correctly, that any attempt to do more than get the troops home -- any attempt to sweat Rummy, Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Perle and Feith under oath - will bore and annoy those precious "independents" they so need to win elections, will not be bringing these men to account.

It's a crying shame that the architects of our national shame and Iraq's sad disaster, men who shock-and-awed an already ten-years-starved country and then systematically and deliberately dismantled every civil function that had survived the bombing and sanctions - can plan to spend the rest of their days floating around Washington and New York and points west in black limousines, secure and fed behind layers of security, denying their crimes into dotage, while their innocent victims in Iraq fill more graves than Saddam's men could have hoped to dig in decades.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Spencer Ackerman Is Shrill!

Spencer Ackerman shrilly opines on Stockholm Syndrome among writers for the _New Republic:

toohotfortnr: I learned through four years at TNR that the employees there have quite a curious view of how their magazine is read. Many at TNR believe people read the magazine like TNR staffers do -- that is, draw distinctions between Marty and the staff; and between the right-wing pieces and their own. When it's pointed out that this level of Kremlinology is unreasonable to expect in an audience, they tend to get snippy.

It occurs to me that it's a way of avoiding responsibility for these sorts of idiotic pieces, and to avoid ever standing up to the fools who insist on publishing them.

Attention New Republic writers: This is a broadcast of Radio Free Liberalism. Rise up against your appointed masters! They will crumble at the first display of a show of force...